Nehemiah 6

1 When it was reported to Sanvalat, Toviyah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and that not a single gap was left in it - although up to that time I hadn't yet set up the doors in the gateways -
2 Sanvalat and Geshem sent me a message which said, "Come, let's meet together in one of the villages of the Ono Valley." But they were planning to do me harm;
3 so I sent them messengers with this message: "I'm too busy with important work to come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it to come down to you?"
4 They kept sending this sort of message to me - four times - and I answered them the same way.
5 The fifth time, with the same purpose, Sanvalat sent his servant to me with an open letter in his hand,
6 in which was written: "It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says it too, that you and the Judeans are planning a revolt, that this is why you are rebuilding the wall, and that you intend to be their king," and similar words;
7 "moreover, that you have also appointed prophets to proclaim about you in Yerushalayim, 'There is a king in Y'hudah!'A report along these lines is now going to be made to the king. Come now, therefore, and let's discuss this."
8 I sent him this answer; "Nothing like what you are saying is being done. You're making it all up in your head."
9 They were all just trying to scare us, thinking, "This will sap their strength and keep them from working." But now, [God,] increase my strength!
10 One day, when I went to the house of Sh'ma'yah the son of D'layah, the son of M'heitav'el, where he was confined, he said, "Let's meet together in the house of God, inside the temple, and let's shut the doors of the temple. For they are going to come and try to assassinate you; yes, they will come at night to kill you."
11 I replied, "Should a man like me run away? Can a man like me go into the temple to save his life? I refuse to go in."
12 Then I realized that God had not sent him, that he was making this prophecy against me, and that Toviyah and Sanvalat had bribed him to say it.
13 He had been hired to frighten me into following his suggestion and thus sin, so that they would have material for their unfavorable report about me and could taunt me with it.
14 My God, remember Toviyah and Sanvalat according to their deeds, also the prophet No'adyah and the other prophets trying to intimidate me.
15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days.
16 When all our enemies heard about it and the surrounding nations became afraid, our enemies' self-esteem fell severely; because they realized that this work had been accomplished by our God.
17 During this same period of time, the nobles of Y'hudah sent many letters to Toviyah, and Toviyah kept sending them replies.
18 For there were many in Y'hudah who had sworn allegiance to him, because he was the son-in-law of Sh'khanyah the son of Arach, and his son Y'hochanan had taken as his wife the daughter of Meshulam the son of Berekhyah.
19 They would even praise his good deeds in my presence, and they passed on my words to him. And Toviyah kept sending letters to intimidate me.

Nehemiah 6 Commentary

Chapter 6

Sanballat's plot to hinder Nehemiah. (1-9) False prophets try to frighten Nehemiah. (10-14) The wall finished, Treachery of some among the Jews. (15-19)

Verses 1-9 Let those who are tempted to idle merry meetings by vain companions, thus answer the temptation, We have work to do, and must not neglect it. We must never suffer ourselves to be overcome, by repeated urgency, to do anything sinful or imprudent; but when attacked with the same temptation, must resist it with the same reason and resolution. It is common for that which is desired only by the malicious, to be falsely represented by them as desired by the many. But Nehemiah knew at what they aimed, he not only denied that such things were true, but that they were reported; he was better known than to be thus suspected. We must never omit any known duty for fear it should be misconstrued; but, while we keep a good conscience, let us trust God with our good name. God's people, though loaded with reproach, are not really fallen so low in reputation as some would have them thought to be. Nehemiah lifted up his heart to Heaven in a short prayer. When, in our Christian work and warfare, we enter upon any service or conflict, this is a good prayer, I have such a duty to do, such a temptation to grapple with; now, therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. Every temptation to draw us from duty, should quicken us the more to duty.

Verses 10-14 The greatest mischief our enemies can do us, is, to frighten us from our duty, and to lead us to do what is sinful. Let us never decline a good work, never do a bad one. We ought to try all advice, and to reject what is contrary to the word of God. Every man should study to be consistent. Should I, a professed Christian, called to be a saint, a child of God, a member of Christ, a temple of the Holy Ghost, should I be covetous, sensual, proud, or envious? Should I yield to impatience, discontent, or anger? Should I be slothful, unbelieving, or unmerciful? What effects will such conduct have upon others? All that God has done for us, or by us, or given to us, should lead us to watchfulness, self-denial, and diligence. Next to the sinfulness of sin, we should dread the scandal.

Verses 15-19 The wall was begun and finished in fifty-two days, though they rested on the sabbaths. A great deal of work may be done in a little time, if we set about it in earnest, and keep close to it. See the mischief of marrying with strangers. When men once became akin to Tobiah, they soon became sworn to him. A sinful love leads to a sinful league. The enemy of souls employs many instruments, and forms many projects, to bring reproach on the active servants of God, or to take them from their work. But we should follow the example of Him who laid down his life for the sheep. Those that simply cleave to the Lord and his work will be supported.

Chapter Summary


Sanballat and his brethren, hearing the wall was finished, sent to Nehemiah, to have a meeting with him at a place named, which he refused, Ne 6:1,2, then they sent him a terrifying letter, suggesting that he, and the Jews with him, would be treated as rebels, since their intention, as reported, was to make him king, which letter he regarded not, Ne 6:3-9, then they employed some that pretended to be prophets to advise him to flee to the temple for safety, which he rejected, Ne 6:10-14 and so the work went on and was finished, though there was a secret correspondence carried on between their enemies and some false brethren among themselves, Ne 6:15-19.

Nehemiah 6 Commentaries

Complete Jewish Bible Copyright 1998 by David H. Stern. Published by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.